Fish finders – Buying guide, Reviews and Comparison
If you want to find the best fishing gear, but you don’t have time to go through the buying tips and reviews prepared by our research team, this short paragraph should tell you everything you need to know about the best fish finders. After analyzing a lot of feedback coming from both amateur and professional fishermen, we have concluded that the Garmin Striker 4 is the best because it has been outfitted with a high-quality scanning sonar that enables anglers to see as much detail as possible. Thanks to this feature, you’ll be able to glance at the structure, objects, and the water around your boat, as well as your potential catches. Whether you plan to utilize the device for vertical jigging or ice fishing, it will raise up to par as it comes with a built-in flasher. If the Garmin Striker 4 is unavailable, you should consider the Deeper Smart Portable as it is a reliable alternative both in terms of performance and quality.
We know that buyers can get confused when it comes to purchasing fishfinders. That’s why we’ve invested a lot of time in completing a thorough research. We would like to give a helping hand to all users out there who are a little puzzled as to which features are a must and which they can do without.
Since the price of some models can be as high as $1,000 or even more, it is very important to read as many fish finder reviews as possible. Other buyers’ opinions are often unbiased and will tell you exactly what you need to know about one unit or another.
Additionally, we’ve selected a number of models that we think are the best. Do not feel compelled to take our word for it, as we’re only here to help. All of the following information has been collected in countless hours of researching the market, so if you think buying the right fishfinder is a daunting task, just have a look at the buying guide.
What do fishfinders actually do?
Because the only thing that fishfinders aren’t truly capable of doing is catching fish for you, they are sometimes unfairly denigrated. Despite the fact that they are extremely complicated electrical devices, it is crucial to understand that they are primarily composed of two very important components: an LCD display screen and a transducer.
For those who are interested in knowing how they function, the simplest explanation is that all of the information that you see is produced utilizing sonar technology. The device emits a sound wave that penetrates the water and generates a cone-shaped beam of light at the surface.
Product descriptions frequently do not include information about the cone angle, which is determined by the manufacturer for each particular model.
While some fishfinders are equipped with a single beam of sonar, others, such as those manufactured by Humminbird, are equipped with multi-beam technology. This last feature allows the unit to send out between 2 and 6 sonar beams, which do an excellent job of covering a bigger area as compared to units that only have a single beam, which are more expensive.
Angles between cones can range from 20 degrees to 110 degrees. What does this mean for you and your family? The gadget can scan up to 13% of 10-ft water depth with an angle measurement of 20 degrees, which is sufficient if you want to fish in shallow water. Fishfinders with a scanning angle of 110 degrees, on the other hand, are more than capable of scanning up to 2.85 times the depth of the same 10-foot water.
The selection of a certain model is a subjective matter because the performance of the device is often dependent on the type of transducer that is used, as well as on elements that are outside the control of the user, such as the temperature and purity of the water.
Choosing the Right Fish Finder
Here’s what you need to look for if you want to get the right unit for your own needs.
When it comes to buying fishfinders, screen size matters a lot. Ancient models come with sizes of screens that resemble the one in old cell phones. They’ll do a good job at detecting fish, but you’ll have trouble actually seeing it. Cheap basic fishfinders come with grayscale screens, and this is another reason why you might have a hard time visualizing your catch.
We recommend considering a color model that features downscan/down imaging, as this function is responsible for creating picture-like images.
Resolution is yet another detail to reflect upon. In this case, the rule is simple: the more pixels, the more detail.
Transducers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but to pick the right model you need to know the material your hull is made of. For instance, transducers made of plastic work great for fiberglass or metal hulls, while the bronze ones are perfect for wood hulls. Some produce a narrow beam that will work for deep waters, while others capture wider displays that are fit for fishing in shallow waters.
Power and frequency
Because the issues of power and frequency are so closely intertwined, we’ve decided to handle them all at once. Higher wattage is advised for persons who want to be able to see clear images that are produced swiftly and efficiently while also maintaining comfort. A decreased power consumption will result in a slower reading speed and blurry visuals.
When it comes to frequency, the higher the value, the more detail you’ll be able to see displayed on the screen. Example: A 50 KHz frequency at 100 Watts will provide depth measurements of up to 400 ft, while a 200 KHz frequency at the same power will provide depth measurements of up to 100 ft.
All things considered, fishing in shallow waters does not necessitate the use of much force, whereas fishing in deep waters necessitates the use of a lot of power. As a result, the 50 KHz frequency that we were talking about will be ideal for deep water operations. Our recommendation is to get a model that allows you to customize the frequency of the alarm, especially if you plan on going on an ocean fishing adventure.
This feature is a must for people who tend to fish far away from home. If you live in an area that’s constantly affected by hurricanes and other hazardous natural phenomena, the GPS or a cartography system will bring you back home safely. Weather info is a plus.
11 Best Fish Finders (Reviews) in 2021
1. Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4
Despite the fact that it is one of the most reasonably priced options available on the market today, this Garmin unit should be at the top of your shopping list at all times. It may be used as a regular fish finder as well as an ice flasher, making it both convenient and versatile in its application.
It is possible to use the Striker 4 to help you if you ever find yourself in a difficult circumstance because it is equipped with a waypoint map that allows you mark as many locations as you like on it.
In light of the fact that it is equipped with a sonar that has been lauded for its exceptional performance, it is reasonable to conclude that it is well worth the investment.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that the device has received broad praise from those who have purchased it, especially given the fact that it is both affordable and effective at what it is intended to do.
While researching this item, we couldn’t help but notice that several online merchants are offering it for less than one hundred fifty dollars, which is an excellent deal considering the capabilities of this device.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($109.12)
2. Lowrance 000-11448-001 Elite-3X Fishfinder
A rudimentary, yet adequately accurate model, it may be obtained for as low as $99 from a variety of online shops, including Amazon. It has a 3.5-inch color LCD display and can be programmed to operate at a frequency of 83/200KHz. 240 x 360 pixels is the screen resolution on this device, which makes it quite modest in size overall.
This one has a transducer that is mounted on the transom. In terms of angular measurement, because the item is equipped with a Broadband Sounder, you’ll be able to see your catch with pinpoint accuracy. Users will be able to see the fish arches, bottom contour, and even the details of the structure thanks to this function.
In the case of components and labor, the manufacturers are providing a one-year warranty.
Nothing except positive feedback was received from customers regarding this product. It has been referred to as the “perfect tiny unit” because of how simple it is to install and operate. Some consumers remarked that it has a comprehensive range of features in addition to producing high-quality photographs.
Best portable fish finder
3. Deeper PRO Smart Portable Sonar – Wireless
This is without a doubt one of the most adaptable models we’ve come across, as it can be used on both tablets and smartphones simultaneously.
With the transducer as its only component, it qualifies as a portable fishfinder for the purposes of this article. It is equipped with a dual beam frequency of 90/290 KHz, which allows it to scan water depths of up to 130 feet.
The free mobile application that comes with the model is one of its most appealing features. The app is in charge of giving information such as maps, weather, a calendar, and even the ability to share information via social media.
The transducer is equipped with a rechargeable battery that can be used continuously for up to 4 hours. The fact that it is so adaptable means that it can be used for virtually every sort of fishing, including kayak and ice fishing.
4. Humminbird 409690-1 PiranhaMax 197C DI Color Fish Finder
This Humminbird variety is probably the best fish finder for boats that money can buy. It has a wide array of features, ranging from Fish ID+ and fish alarms to depth alarms and Down imaging.
This model features pretty much everything a person could possibly want in a vehicle. The interface is simple to use, and the functions are straightforward and unambiguous. Although the 3.5-inch screen is a touch smaller than the screens on other items in the same series, the 320 by 240 resolution and the 256-color display are adequate for the task at hand.
A total of 2,400 watts is available from this variety’s peak to peak output.
It’s unnecessary to be concerned about the depth capacity of the Humminbird PiranhaMax because it can offer readings up to 320 feet in water depth without any issues.
There is a one-year guarantee provided by the manufacturers on this product.
This one includes both the transducer and the mounting hardware, which is a rare find these days.
This unit has received overwhelmingly positive feedback, which leads us to believe that it may be a viable choice to take into consideration.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($149)
Best ice fishing fish finder
5. Marcum LX-7 Ice Fishing Sonar System Fish Finder
If there is one fishing electronic you might require at any given time, purchasing an ice fish finder is the worst experience you could possibly have, especially if you have little or no experience when it comes to choosing the appropriate one. If, on the other hand, you want to get the most out of your device, you might want to consider investing in the Marcum LX-7, which is both a traditional fish finder and one that is specifically intended for ice fishing.
There are a variety of reasons to keep this model on your radar. One of these advantages is that the machine is fitted with an 8-inch display, which allows you to easily visualize the information displayed on it. Another advantage is that the interface is extremely simple to use, so you won’t have to worry about getting sucked into a time-consuming learning process.
Due to the fact that it comes with two cone angles, there will be nothing that prevents you from viewing the data from any depth. It’s possible that this Marcum model, if you’re ready to make the switch from your old sonar, will be the best solution to your needs. It’s possible that you’ll have to save up some money in order to get it, as it isn’t especially budget-friendly.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($693.96)
6. Vexilar FL-8se Genz Pack with 19 Degree Ice Flasher
When it comes to purchasing an ice fishing fish finder, things are a little different because they don’t appear or feel the same as ordinary devices do. Despite the fact that this particular model can be purchased for as little as $300-$350, it comes with a long list of features that make it difficult to say no to.
The device includes a 12-volt 7-amp battery that comes with its own charger as well as a transducer that is built in. If you ever get the impression that installing or using the device is going to be too much of a pain, simply view the instructional video given by the manufacturer with the model.
With this device, you can choose from six different depth ranges ranging from 20 feet to 120 feet. The three-color LED display allows users to distinguish between targets that are more reachable and ones that are more difficult to approach. Weak bottoms are shown in green, medium bottoms in orange, and powerful bottoms are displayed in red.
Two-year warranty on the fishfinder and a one-year warranty on the battery are being offered by the companies that make them.
Best kayak fish finder
7. Signstek FF-003 Portable Fish Finder Outdoor Fishing Tool
With the help of the Signstek LYSB00C95IUSI, you can maintain complete control over your surroundings while remaining always aware of them. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned angler, the sonar technology in this product will allow you to locate the greatest fishing areas precisely and quickly, regardless of your level of experience or expertise.
You will constantly be aware of the depth of the water, allowing you to select the most appropriate fishing equipment. Additionally, the gadget will display the current temperature of the water, and it is suitable for use in any body of water, whether it oceans or rivers, lakes or tiny ponds, the Signstek LYSB00C95IUSI will function in them all.
The 2.4″ TFT LCD Sunlight Display is used to display all of the information on the screen. It is possible to read the data on the display even on bright summer days because it is bright enough and has acceptable viewing angles. The vehicle also comes equipped with a white LED front light, which can be really useful during those early morning travels.
This option has an adjustable sensitivity that offers 100 sensitivity levels that you can alter, as well as multi-level depth range settings that you can experiment with to ensure that you see all of the information you require when driving. The equipment is simple to use, and you don’t need a lot of previous expertise with comparable devices to get started. All you have to do is turn it on and cast the sonar sensor to begin working.
8. Garmin Echo 101 US and Canada with Transducer
As previously said, Garmin is well-known for creating fish finders that are more economical than their Lowrance and Humminbird competitors, which are also available. The same can be said about this item, which can be purchased for less than $100 on the secondary market.
With its dual-beam transducer and transom attachment, this is a simple kayak equipment that will perform admirably thanks to its low price. But wait, that’s not all there is to it. Customers can also purchase a trolling motor mount for their unit.
This model has the advantage of coming with a long 20-inch transducer cable, which makes it a fantastic choice for any style of boat, which is an added bonus.
This is an 8-level grayscale fishfinder with a resolution of 160 x 256, which means it will provide photographs that are more than acceptable for the price. It has a frequency of 200 kHz and a power of 1,600 watts, and it is made of aluminum.
Users praise the ease with which it can be installed and used, and they emphasize that it provides excellent value for the money.
Best marine fish finder w/ GPS
9. Humminbird 409610-1 Helix 5 Fish Finder with GPS
Despite the fact that $300 appears to be a little out of reach for your budget, this is the greatest fishfinder for the money available. If you prefer fishing in deep water, such as the sea or the ocean, you’ll strive to save some money in order to buy it, but it’s not always possible. It has a 5-inch color display with a resolution of 480 by 800 pixels and a resolution of 480 by 800 pixels. Side imaging and down imaging are two of the product’s inherent features.
There is a dual-beam transducer with a tremendous output of 4000 watts included in the package.
The frequency of this product, as with the other goods in the series, can be tailored to meet the needs of the customer. Users can choose between an 83 KHz and a 200 KHz frequency.
Because marine fishfinders are rendered ineffective without a GPS system, Humminbird addressed the issue by equipping this model with the most up-to-date mapping and cartography technologies available. In addition to Navionics Gold and Hot Maps chart cards, the item is compatible with a variety of other chart cards.
For this particular model, the producers are providing a one-year warranty.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($329.99)
Best side-imaging fish finder
10. Fishfinder Striker 7sv w/ SideVu Xdcr
With the Garmin Striker 7SV, you’ll be able to fish like you’ve never done before while also getting a good perspective of what’s in the water surrounding your boat. With high-frequency sonar technology, you can acquire sharp and detailed views of things, structures, and fish that are hidden beneath the surface of the water, allowing you to identify the best fishing site and capture more fish than you ever thought possible.
An intuitive interface has been created to make using the device simple and intuitive, especially for people who are not naturally at ease in front of a computer or other electronic device. The dedicated buttons and the interface, which is based on pushing keys, will make it feasible to operate the device while wearing gloves or with a wet hand.
As soon as you come across a spot that piques your interest, you can mark it on the waypoint map using your mouse. Following the marking of these locations, the gadget will store them for you so that you can go to them quickly in the future.
It is anticipated that the usage of chirp sonar, which delivers a continuous sweep of frequencies, will provide a greater variety of information. The chirp sonar is also capable of forming more detailed fish arches, which will help you to more readily distinguish between the targets you are seeing with greater precision.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($469.99)
11. Humminbird 409380-1 398ci
According to what we’ve already stated at the conclusion of this buying guide, side imaging and down imaging are two additional features that help to create a picture-like image. Models that include this feature are typically more expensive, and this is also true in the case of this particular model. Regardless of its cost, it has garnered a number of overwhelmingly positive reviews, the majority of which are focused on the high quality of the photographs it provides.
The screen is a color 3.5-inch TFT display with a resolution of 320 by 240 pixels and a color depth of 16. As a result of the 4000 peak-to-peak watts, the game features a significant amount of power.
Additional features include an internal GPS that may be updated on a continuous basis by the user through the usage of an SD card. The offer includes the ability to save waypoints.
A 15-foot cable is included with the transducer, which is included in the package.
The product has been hailed as the best choice for small dash mount boats by customers. The majority of buyers are pleased with the amount of value they receive for their money.
What is a good price for a fish finder?
Regular units can traditionally be purchased for as little as $75 or $100. If you want to get the best portable fish finder or just a kayak fish finder, you’re likely to spend somewhere between $150 and $200.
Extra features such as GPS and side imaging will inevitably lead to higher costs, which is why these more advanced models can cost between $300 and $500. If you’re prepared to invest in your game, you can even browse units over $1,000.
Even in the case of fishfinders some brands are more trustworthy than others. We have come to the conclusion that most customers eventually purchase lifelong models manufactured by the following three companies: Garmin, Lowrance and Humminbird. To each its own: units coming from Lowrance and Humminbird are slightly more expensive than the ones coming from Garmin.
However, the first two often offer a set of features that is breathtakingly cutting-edge. If you are not picky about the resolution or the amount of detail you are be able to see, you can always have a look at some cheaper Garmin models. Reading some reviews always helps with making up your mind.
As a final word, we’d like to wish you a pleasant stay and let you know that we are here to help. Our core mission is to offer you info that will help you to make the right decision, both in terms of product quality and in terms of your personal budget.
Some key takeaways include assessing your own needs and deciding on the model you need to purchase depending on the boat you own, and on the waters you want to fish in. Try to pick a reputable brand over a relatively new one and try to stay away from second-hand fishfinders.
Technology today is evolving at a quick pace, which is why you’ll regret buying a used, old model at some point or the other. Furthermore, new items come with warranties that allow you to benefit from all the necessary help on the side of customer support.
Charles Reynolds is an engineer from New York University with a passion for fishing. His earliest memories of fishing go back to the days spent on the lake with his grandfather who taught him the sport. Reynolds spends a large part of his holidays fishing with his son and passing on the skills to the little one.